Those, Other, Guys

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alexey Shved, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III highlight the Minnesota Timberwolves, Las Vegas Summer League roster. But what about the rest of the guys? Just a few quick things.

The Timberwolves are sending an interesting bunch to Las Vegas, and they'll arrive for the Summer League tournament later this week. Until then, Minnesota is holding a mini-camp featuring an open scrimmage at Target Center that is open, free to the public beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, July 9th. I can't recall if this is something the organization has done in past years, but, it's a unique event and gives fans a chance to watch the team interact on the court.

Quick Notes

Coaches

All of Flip Saunders' assistant coaches will share the head coaching duties. Yes, I chuckled at the thought of swapping the cast of The Hangover with David Adelman, Sid Lowe, Sam Mitchell and Ryan Saunders, you guys already made some jokes yesterday about this.

Each polarizing member of this group has experience coaching at the NBA level. It's a curious strategy, maybe they've already determined how they'll rotate [maybe it's a coach 'till you lose type of thing, IDK], but I'm looking forward to see how this all plays out.

Players

To no surprise, Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III are on this team. Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad, two, first round selections in the 2013 NBA draft will also make the trip to Las Vegas, aside Alexey Shved and a handful of other players-- I'll get to them shortly.

  • Assuming he intangibles to play in the NBA, Shved must discover on this trip because that's what will conjure within his mind if Shved performs how well he has in moments over the previous two years.
  • Dieng and Shabazz both saw enough minutes to have an edge over the talent they'll be matched up against, hopefully. Word is Shabazz has lost weight, and Dieng has put on some muscle-- both are positive developments, if true.

Quick Notes on the Other Players

LaRon Dendy

Forward
Ht: 6-9, Wt: 235 lbs
Birthdate: Dec. 18, 1988 (Greenville, S.C.)
Prior to NBA: Ferro-ZNTU (Ukraine)
NBA Experience: Rookie

Notes: At Middle Tennessee State University, Dendy helped win the Sun Belt Conference regular season title and, in 2012, was dubbed Conference Player of the Year for the effort. After going undrafted in 2012, Dendy played with the Washington Wizards Summer League team later that summer, but ultimately ventured overseas to play professionally in Europe.

This past season Dendy played with Ferro-ZNTU in the Ukrainian Basketball Super League, averaging 14 points, nine rebounds in 32 minutes per game spanning over 18 appearances. Back in March, Americans playing in the Ukrainian Superleague were advised to leave the country due to political turmoil.

Mamadi Diane

Forward
Ht: 6-5, Wt: 205 lbs
Birthdate: Nov. 9, 1986 (Washington, D.C.)
Prior to NBA: Boulogne (France)
NBA Experience: Rookie

Notes: The feature part of Diane's game playing at the University of Virginia was his ability to connect on the three-point shot. That was everyone thought after his junior year, anyway, after Diane finished with a shooting percentage of 41 percent-- Diane scored 11 points per game during the '07-'08 season.

Diane inexplicably struggled shooting three's his senior season at Virginia. After beginning the year three of 32 from three-point range, he ended the season having made only 24 percent of attempts taken outside the arc-- these were farfetched, underwhelming results.


After signing with Boulogne of the Pro B league [France] during 2012-13, Diane averaged 9.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game with Boulogne playing in only nine appearances.

Kyrylo Fesenko

Center
Ht: 7-1, Wt: 280 lbs
Birthdate: Dec. 24, 1986 (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine)
Prior to NBA: Ukraine
NBA Experience: 5 Years

Notes: Fesenko was selected with the 38th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, before immediately being traded to the Utah Jazz. He is listed at 7'1'', 280lbs, and Fesenko spent last season in the NBA D-League. He averaged nine points and six rebounds in 25 appearances split playing with the Canton Charge and Delaware 87'ers last season.

Brady Heslip

Guard
Ht: 6-2, Wt: 180 lbs
Birthdate: June 19, 1990 (Oakville, Ontario)
Prior to NBA: Baylor/North of the Border Basketball League [Canada]
NBA Experience: Rookie

Notes: The best shooter in Baylor, and perhaps Big 12, history. 1140 career points (20th in school history) and his 43.7 three-point percentage was the highest in school history, third-best in Big 12 history, and Heslip made 301 total three-point attempts [fifth in conference history. As a senior he connected on 118 three-pointers-- this mark that tied the second-highest total, three-pointers made by a single player in conference history.

Heslip played three games with Blessed Sacrament Nation of the North of the Border Basketball League in Canada during the Spring/Summer season. Yes indeedy, he was productive in those outings. Heslip, who plays on the Canadian National Team registered an NBBL Record 50 points (45 in the second half) on [another NBBL Record] 13-three pointers in a game against the Hamilton Huskies-- the video of that performance is shown above this paragraph. Seven days later, these teams met again, and Heslip was held to only 19 points but his team emerged victorious in both games. He averaged 32 points, five assists, and five rebounds in his three NBBL appearances.

Dennis Horner

Forward
Ht: 6-9, Wt: 230 lbs
Birthdate: Feb. 5, 1988 (Linwood, N.J.)
Prior to NBA: Bakersfield Jam (NBA D-League)
NBA Experience: 1 Year

Notes: A veteran of the NBA D-League, Horner spent the majority of the last three seasons playing with the Springfield Armor and Bakersfield Jam. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game playing in 47 games, last season.

In June of 2011, Horner, who played the previous year playing in Belgium and Cyprus, returned to New Jersey and collected spent $650 (plus travel expenses) before heading to Louisville-- he was going to try out for the NBA Development League.

Six months later, Horner made NBA debut for the New Jersey Nets just two-hour drive from his home near Atlantic City.

D.J. Kennedy

Guard/Forward
Ht: 6-6, Wt: 215 lbs
Birthdate: Nov. 5, 1989 (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Prior to NBA: Hapoel Holon (Israel)
NBA Experience: 1 Year

Notes: After being cut by the Dallas Mavericks last summer, Kennedy played in the D-League before spending '13-'14 overseas with BCM Gravelines of the Ligue Nationale de Basket Pro A (France), before joining Hapoel Holon of the Israeli Basketball Super League.

"For guy that can step out and shoot but is athletic enough and does have a little back-to-the-basket game," Laurence Bowers, Kennedy's teammate with Hapoel Holon described their competition, "I think Israel is perfect".

Jordan Morgan

Center
Ht: 6-8, Wt: 250 lbs
Birthdate: Sept. 15, 1991 (Scott Air Force Base, Ill.)
Prior to NBA: Michigan
NBA Experience: Rookie

Notes: Morgan started 122 of his school-record 142 games at the University of Michigan, and was a teammate of Robinson III. He finished his career at Michigan not only the school leader in games, but also in career field goal percentage (63.1%) and Morgan averaged nearly seven points on a school-record 70 percent shooting as a senior.

Markel Starks

Guard
Ht: 6-2, Wt: 175 lbs
Birthdate: Feb. 21, 1991 (Accokeek, Md.)
Prior to NBA: Georgetown
NBA Experience: Rookie

Notes: Starks finished his career at Georgetown with 1,246 points in 126 games, ranking 26th all-time in school history. He tallied 165 made three-pointers in his four-year career, tied for fifth all-time, while also ranking fifth in three-point attempts (459), T-20th in three-point percentage (35.9%), seventh in free throw percentage (81.3%) and 19th in assists (300).

-zb

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